Disclaimer: This post contains my opinion and what I believe in. I hold myself responsible for this and you may email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to talk about this more or if this is something you find offending.
Ever since I started book blogging last year, I made it a point to create teasers/graphic edits for the lines or passages I loved in a book that I read. Even my co-bloggers create a lot. And we love sharing them to our bookish friends. All is good and calm in the book world until a thing came out that made me think some serious thoughts.
I hope you don’t mind me speaking up in behalf of my co-bloggers and fellow bibliophiles who use photos from Pinterest, Tumblr, etc–to do teaser graphics because we (The Belles) are all guilty of doing that, too. First of all, what we create are all fan-made edits. This means they are not the official, paid ones for authors to share. (If they do, then thank you, we really, really appreciate it.) This means we do not claim any copyright to the photos we use. We are aware of the consequences of using them. But you see, we do it for us, for the readers to share why we love the book and maybe to encourage fellow bookworm to grab a copy of it. These edits are very helpful for people because sometimes it’s how they decide what to read next. (Aside from reviews, of course.) On Instagram, word of mouth and graphic edits are our way to recommend a book. Because let’s admit it–the covers and the caption are not enough to catch everyone’s attention all the time. And we don’t want that especially if we love the book so much we want to shout it from the rooftops and shove it down to people’s throats. LOL. This means we scour Pinterest, spend insane amount of time on Tumblr searching for that perfect peg because we cannot pay for premium stock photos. Not everyone can afford them and that’s a hard truth. (I certainly cannot. I’d rather buy books and lipsticks, thank you very much.) So kudos to people who go that extra mile because I cannot imagine the expenses of an average reader if we buy stock photos for each book we love just to do teasers.
Authors, you do understand that we don’t have to create graphics of your books, right? But we still do because we love you and what you do, you know that. Us pimping out your books isn’t entirely for you, though. And we understand you cannot share the edits we make because of licensing things and that’s perfectly okay. We get that. Being recognized by you, guys, are just perks. It’s enough. But, ultimately, we do teasers for our own happiness and to express our love for your books. We want to help readers visualize and get a feel of your characters. We pay for your books to support you, do edits because we loved what we read. That’s all there is to it. All our creative juices to share the love of reading without money involved coming from you.
Unless, teaser making is like your business. Then that’s a different story altogether. This type of readers who sell graphics (and use free materials) have no right at all to use photos of celebrities and other personalities, even places unless they’ve been granted commercial copyrights to use them. Being a person who’s earning from this, it’s very common logic to purchase stock photos, even fonts and other resources because you use them for commercial purposes. It’s not right to grab free stuff and tell people they can buy it from you because it 👏 Is 👏 Not 👏 Yours 👏 You 👏 Did 👏 Not 👏 Pay 👏 For 👏 That. But unless you do, please carry on.
And again, I have nothing against readers and bloggers who pay for stock photos (because I know some of my blogger friends do and it’s their choice to do so) to use in their graphics may it be a paid gig or otherwise.
The point is, readers can make all the goddamn teasers in the world (paid or free) for as long as they want to because they love reading and supporting the authors and they don’t earn from any of that. Because let’s face it, not all readers are good at expressing their amazement over a book through words or through reviews, so as an alternative they make teasers. Please don’t take that away from them, from all of us. It’s disheartening enough that some teaser makers now doubt themselves and their creativity because of this issue. Some even took a step back, reconsidering what they would do next because they can’t afford to buy stock images. All those talent we have in the community? Wasted and that’s just because they feel like they’ve been boxed to use only premium stocks if they wanted to do edits for themselves. How tragic and painful is that? We know we don’t owe authors anything, even reviews FFS, most especially when we use our own hard-earned money to buy books. But because it’s in our reader nature to share the book love, we want people to know more about it and give them time to consider reading it. We still spend time reading, reviewing, recommending, marketing it in our own ways without getting paid to do so. We all know the best thing we can do is be grateful. Us because romance novels that they write are our drug and they generously give us ARCs sometimes and them because we offer them free marketing using free materials without getting money out of it. Authors need us and I believe in some level that they need us (readers, teaser makers) more. So don’t worry fellow creatives, we got your 6. As always.
Now, can we please bring the peace back in our “fanmade-teaser makers” community?